Robots replace costly US Navy mine-clearance dolphins
For decades, science fiction writers and futurologists have predicted a time when wars are fought at the push of a button and Terminator-like robo-soldiers fight in place of humans. While the rise of drone warfare suggests that vision may be starting to come true, it would seem that it will not be humans who are first in line to lose their military commission. "We're in a period of transition," explains captain Frank Linkous, head of the Navy's Mine Warfare Branch. After nearly 50 years, he says, the Navy plans to phase out its Sea Mammal Program and retire its pods of dolphins and sea lions that are currently used to help locate — and in some cases destroy — sea mines. Swimming into their place is a new generation of robotic mine hunters, he says.
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